Italy's far-right leader Giorgia Meloni says she would be "honoured to break a taboo" and become the country's first female prime minister.
Opinion polls forecast her Brothers of Italy party will get the biggest vote share in a snap general election on Sunday.
The party leads a right-wing bloc -- which also includes the parties of Matteo Salvini and Silvio Berlusconi -- that is favourite to triumph.
That means Italy, which has seen 67 governments come and go since World War II, could be led by a woman for the first time.
“Surely it would be a step forward,” said Meloni in a statement to Euronews. "I defined it as breaking the 'glass ceiling', one that still exists in many western countries, not only in Italy, preventing women from achieving important public roles in society.
"It would be an honour for me to be the first to break this taboo in my country.”
Opposing Meloni, Salvini and Berlusconi is the left-wing coalition, dominated by the Democratic Party (PD) and a smattering of other smaller parties. Led by former PM Enrico Letta, PD has a broadly moderate, pro-European stance, and is vehemently opposed to Putin and the war in Ukraine.
Eschewing the left-right political binary is the Five Star Movement (Movimento 5 Stelle; M5S), which is once again running as a stand-alone party. Former prime minister Giuseppe Conte is its leader.
Raised largely by her mother -- the absence of a strong father figure has informed her views on rejecting same-sex parenthood -- Meloni is a born-and-bred Roman.
A deeply committed national conservative since her youth, Meloni grew up in Rome’s Garbatella, an edgy, working-class neighbourhood with a strong left-wing tradition.
In 1992, a fresh-faced Meloni joined the now-defunct nationalist SocialRead more on euronews.com